Welcome to the stone-age

10 Mar

A state cannot treat criminals in the same manner that the latter treats his/her victims. Even criminals, fortunately or unfortunately, have human rights. Everyone has an inherent right to dignity. Pakistan doesn’t have a population control strategy because of which our government has recently decided to lift the moratorium for the death penalty in all cases. Before you get worked up and suggest I’m arguing that terrorists be kept in prison at taxpayer’s expense, let me make it clear that I’m not talking about the lifting the moratorium on the death penalty for cases of terrorism. Pakistan’s situation is a unique one and though I am principally opposed to the death penalty, I believe we have a ‘need’ to lift the moratorium in cases of terrorism, particularly post-APS massacre. However, what I strongly condemn is the lifting of the moratorium in all death penalty cases.

Pakistan’s judiciary is far from free, fair and impartial. Innocent people are convicted frequently under our criminal justice system. A large proportion of these innocent people are convicted on the basis of insufficient evidence, thereby, rendering their convictions wrongful. Aasia Bibi is one of them, like many others before her. Cases of alleged blasphemy provide the clearest illustration of why we cannot possibly afford to lift the moratorium on the death penalty in all cases. Lifting the moratorium on the death penalty in all cases will, in no way, end terrorism or prevent radicalization. It will only harm those who have already been languishing in prison for years on the basis of wrongful convictions.

The criminal justice system exists for a reason. You can’t have a slum for a prison because the state is better than criminals. It cannot violate peoples’ fundamental human rights because it is “too expensive” to keep criminals in jail. Let me give you an example of how dangerous it is that the death penalty has been reinstated in all cases: I accuse person X of blasphemy. It is a well-known fact that courts in Pakistan are not free from religious pressure, which is why they commonly convict on the basis of insufficient evidence (refer to Salamat Masih, Muhammad Asghar, other blasphemy cases). Person X is convicted by a court and sentenced to death. I only accused person X because I wanted his land. Is it fair that Person X will be hanged because a court didn’t have the courage to say, “We can’t convict this man because there isn’t enough evidence apart from the fact that Imaan Mazari said so.” Similarly, if an Ahmadi in Pakistan has been sentenced to death because he called himself a Muslim, is it fair to execute him for this? Is his “crime” proportionate to the punishment?

Don’t lower yourself – everyone has human rights. While we may need to lift the moratorium on the death penalty for cases involving terrorists (which is why we have military courts now apparently), we have set ourselves back hundreds of years by lifting the moratorium in all cases. Congratulations Pakistan: welcome to the stone-age.

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2 Responses to “Welcome to the stone-age”

  1. Rafaqat March 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Mera dil teri hi mohabbat ke liye,
    Magar yeh offer mehdood muddat ke liye hai..

  2. mukhtar January 22, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    so basicaly its alright to try the terrorists through the same justice system that is corrupt and biased for criminals. The natural assumption here is that terrorists already come tried from another justice system(army, intelligence) that is free and fair, so the our corrupt justice system can just hand down the punishment that has already been decided by a superior diety.

    knowing fully well that the level of corruption in our police and armed forces. Knowing well how they use scape goats to ease pressure and arrest and torture to extract ransom from the family, i think this is very very convenient on your part, that you become the angelic advocate of human rights as well as being against death penalty and at the same time give ur blessings to torture and killing of “terrorists”. kudos

    Your accept there isreligious pressure in pakistani society, but at the same time convenienty overlook the military pressure.. title you article as “convenience rulz my conscience” “welcome to the hypocrisy age”

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